Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Writing voice.

My daughter is writing a science research paper and she asked me to critique it for her. She said that one of the criteria for the paper's scoring is that the writing style should have a "voice." She said it would be great if I could help her revise the paper so the wording could flow like some of my blog entries. 

I initially told her to shoot much higher than my writing ability. When I was a  student I was told often that I was a poor writer. I don't know what happened but over the years, the reviews of my writing improved to the point where some people now think I write well. Payments weren't involved in this transformation but magic must have been. Probably dark magic.

We started working on the paper. I had the challenge of balancing how to help her but not to rewrite the paper myself. I'm sure some other parents completely rewrite their kid's papers but I try instead to advise or guide my children with their school work. We reviewed her draft sentence by sentence.  I would ask her if she meant what I thought it said. If not, she would give it another shot. I recommended that she use less words. It might be simpler or clearer to use shorter words and to get to her point quicker. We went through a bunch of sessions and I think the paper was getting cleaned up nicely.

Before she went to bed though she had to update her facebook page with  "You're trying too hard to sound like a nerd."-My dad in reference to my paper. 

Did I say that? Probably. It is in my "voice."

10 comments:

Kate said...

Lol. I love to write, I'm a teacher, and I still struggle with helping my teenage sons revise their writing. Sounds like you did a pretty good job, though.

P said...

Too funny!! Much of my schoolwork assistance sounds like, "Is that really your best work?" and at least one of us crying. :P

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

This is funny!

You know, I can read a post and know exactly who it is just by the writing "voice". Very cool how that develops and grows as one starts a blog and then find their own style!

Aka Alice said...

I completely understand the balance between helping and guiding them and rewriting it for them...

I remember one time a parent called me about a grade his daughter and received on a paper I'd graded (this was back when I was teaching high school). The parent was REALLY upset about the grade. At some point in the conversation, he slipped and used the pronoun "I" instead of "she" (I.e. "I worked hard on this paper" and not "she worked hard"). When I got him off the phone I had to laugh because it was clear that he was upset about the C he had earned on the paper, not because of his daughter.

Caratunk Girl said...

OMG her FB comment is so funny!!

Kovas said...

Some people can write complete drivel and sound awesome. Us others need to write and rewrite and rewrite and..

Big Daddy Diesel said...

That is just funny

Emz said...

freaking. hilarious.

i. love. writing. voice.

Heather said...

That is funny. I always tell my students not to try to sound smart. I may change that advice, to "Don't try to sound like a nerd."

Al's CL Reviews said...

:)